In the waters south of Kangaroo Island lie two Adelaide Steam Ship Company vessels which ended their days afloat as targets for the Australian armed services.

In 1934 the hulk Pam was anchored south west of Cape Hart and used for gunnery practice by HMAS Australia and HMAS Canberra. Sixteen years later the coastal steamer Quorna was towed east of Cape Hart and deliberately bombed by the RAAF during 'Operation Lame Duck'.

Both vessels lie in approximately 50 metres of water. The exact location of each wreck is unknown, although a 52 metre shipwreck has been tentatively identified as Quorna by an independent researcher.


Kangaroo Island Ships' Graveyard

Location: -32.299837*S 133.523873*E

Vessel type: Hulk (formerly an iron barque)

Pam was built at Greenock, England, in 1864. The vessel was initially rigged as an iron barque named Lady Palmerston. By 1990 it was in Port Adelaide where it was hulked. From 1930 the vessel lay idle at the Ethelton wharf.

In 1934, the hulk was given to the Australian Navy to be used by HMAS Canberra and HMAS Australia as a targe for gunnery practice. It was towed by the tug Wato to a position 7 miles (11.3km) southwest of Cape Hart, arriving early on the morning of 20 March 1934.

When the cruisers were sighted, the Wato towed the Pam a further 3 to 4 miles (approximately 5kms) southwest. Large pieces of lead were attached to the tow cable and the hawser set adrift, with the weights serving to anchor the Pam. Using 8-inch guns, the naval vessels fired a total of 20 broadsides, with the majority finding the target. Once the exercise was complete, a crew from Canberra placed a depth charge in the battered hulk and blew it up.

Download the fact sheet for more information.


Kangaroo Island Ships' Graveyard

Location: -35.982018*S 138.184695*E

Vessel type: Steel screw steamer

Quorna was built at Paisley, Scotland, in 1912 and originally named Warrener. After arriving in Port Adelaide in 1912 and renamed Quorna, the vessel carried passengers and cargo around the South Australian coast for more than 30 years.

After 3 years laid-up at Port Adelaide, Quorna was stripped of valuable equipment in 1950 and given to the RAAF for bombing practice.

On the morning of 30 October 1950, it was anchored 10 miles (16.1 kms) east of Cape Hart as part of 'Operation Lame Duck', a large-scale RAAF training exercise. Longe-range bombers operating from Amberley in Queensland struck the target almost immediately and it sank within 6 minutes, cutting the exercise short.

Download the fact sheet for more information.